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Wed, 06 Jul 22 11:59

Comment: Social work together campaign

Rachael Wardell, Chair of the ADCS Workforce Development Policy Committee, said:

“Social workers make a profound difference to the lives of vulnerable children and their families. It is becoming increasingly clear that the pandemic is exacerbating many of the challenges children and families face so having enough high quality social workers has never been more important. We are thankful to everyone who has temporarily rejoined the social work register, via the Social Work Together campaign, to support the national effort against coronavirus. This initiative has helpfully increased the number of available social workers. However, most local authorities have responded to any workforce shortages by redeploying their existing staff to fill gaps because they are already familiar with local arrangements and systems. Therefore, it is unsurprising that relatively few social workers have been recruited by local authorities through this route. Moreover, councils have not seen the level of absences due to staff getting ill, isolating or shielding that we initially feared. That is not to say this additional capacity won’t be needed in the near future, as we anticipate children’s services facing our own peak in activity. During lockdown, referrals to children’s social care initially reduced but they are starting to pick up again and we expect a considerable increase in demand as restrictions begin to ease and children have greater contact with schools and other settings that are likely to identify and raise safeguarding concerns. We are also concerned about the potentially significant impact of ‘test and trace’ on local staffing levels if high numbers of social workers are required to undertake 14 days social isolation after being in contact with people who test positive for Covid-19.”


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